6-foot-10 Chris Young faced 5-foot-6 Jose Altuve with a strikeout record on the line
There aren't many pitchers like Chris Young. The 6-foot-10 hurler is the second-tallest pitcher in big league history, just one inch shorter than Jon Rauch and tied with Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.
While most other teams are loading up with sinkerballers as they shift their infields around to gobble up as many grounders as possible, Young seems to have barophobia, or fear of gravity. With ground ball data going back to 2002, Young has the fourth-lowest career GB percentage at only 26.4.
Somehow this hasn't come back to bite him despite lacking a big fastball. Coming on in relief of Yordano Ventura following the rain delay in Thursday's Game 1 where the Astros defeated the Royals, 5-2, Houston had to prepare for a big drop in heat from the Royals' starter.
Since 2013, Ventura threw the 5th most fastballs at 95+ MPH. Young has thrown the 4th most fastballs at 85 or below. pic.twitter.com/EEw9PMRSwt- Inside Edge (@InsideEdgeScout) October 9, 2015
Which may explain why Young was able to set down five straight Houston batters on K's -- this despite Young only striking out five-plus batters in a game five times total this year.
Even odder, Young racked them all up with big swinging cuts -- never topping 89 mph.
Looking to tie Justin Verlander's postseason record of six straight K's (the all-time record is Tom Seaver with 10), Young faced off against Jose Altuve. But while the Royals pitcher was looking to tie one record, he happened to set another: biggest height difference between a pitcher and hitter.
With Young listed at 82 inches and Altuve at 66, there was over a foot's difference between the two -- or just shy of the average length of a newborn baby.
Even with that towering height advantage and the extra inches of the mound, and getting Altuve to two strikes, Young wasn't able to finish him off. Altuve picked up his third hit of the day with a soft fly ball to center field.
At least it wasn't a ground ball. Otherwise we'd know that the universe was about to collapse.